Visiting the Sahara Desert had been on my list for a very long time. I had a very brief visit, as most do, during a tour of Morocco. We arrived mid afternoon before taking a bucket-list camel ride through the dunes to watch the sunset across the Sahara Desert.
After dinner, I went out to take astrophotography, which unfortunately due to a lot of light pollution (surprising hey?) didn’t go to plan. However, after a very short hours sleep I was up to watch sunrise over the dunes before we left.
While the visit was the very definition of short and sweet (and sleep-deprived!), I certainly took as much as I could out of this visit and I can’t wait to come back one day to experience more.
Camel ride through the Sahara
We arrived at the Sahara Desert and not long after it was time for our camel ride from where we were staying to where we were to watch the sunset.
For the camel ride, we had to leave our luggage unattended in the tents we were staying in. I didn’t feel comfortable with this as everyone around knew that no one was around or watching our stuff so I brought my passports with me just to be safe.
The camels were sitting down and we were helped onto the saddle before they stood up. Their standing up was quite quick and definitely a kick start into riding the camel.
By complete chance I managed to score the best spot, at the front of our line of camels.
We were taught how to tie our scarves around our face to protect ourselves from the sand in the wind. While there was a fair bit of wind (and sand actually got into my camera lens – caused no damage luckily!), I had a very slippery scarf and it came undone quickly, which admittedly didn’t cause any problems with the wind.
I recommend wearing your camera like a hand bag by putting your camera strap over your shoulder while on the camels. I only realised this trick right at the end, but it would’ve made it easier than holding the camera away from the saddle as the camels movements as it walked caused my camera to swing forward and come close to the hard saddle handle.
One of the coolest experiences of my life.
The girls on the back of our camel line actually got separated from the rest of the line when the rope came loose. The camels stayed very still until they ran back to get the rope and tie it back onto the group.
We left the camels at the base of a very tall sand dune and then climbed to the top. It was a very steep climb (glad to have done it on foot not by camel!) but it was certainly worth it times a million.
Watching the sunset over the Sahara Desert
We reached the top of the sand dune and took in the sight before us. The Sahara Desert stretched out in front of us and was just spectacular. We were told the mountain range we could see in the distance was actually Algeria, as we were right on the edge of Morocco.
The view across the Sahara Desert was phenomenal, and watching the sunset over the dunes was an amazing bucket-list experience I will never forget.
After the sunset we headed back to the camels and rode back to where we were staying for dinner.
Astrophotography in the Sahara Desert
After dinner, I took my camera out again as I had always wanted to do astrophotography over the Sahara Desert.
Unfortunately, however, our tents were situated right next to the hotels and therefore, despite being in the desert of all places, the light pollution was really strong. It was also very windy, so while I tried, unfortunately, photos that included myself were so blurry from my hair and dress moving in the wind.
Therefore, I’ll add this to my ongoing bucket list experience to come back one day and take an astrophotography shot over the Sahara – fingers crossed!
We stayed in these tents and, to be very honest, they were bad. Very hot but with no real protection from the sand, meaning we actually woke up our camp beds covered in sand from the wind in the night. We had a very broken sleep. In fact, we even had a visitor – a Saharan Striped Polecat (I mean, identifying the animal was definitely funny). We weren’t very impressed with our accommodation but it was definitely an experience! Will be choosing a far better company next time!
The following morning we made sure to rise before the sun to take in the view as it peaked across the sand dunes.
Before we left the next day, I stopped by to say goodbye to the camels.
Before having a quick shower in the nearby hotel (which was very nice to have!)
I had a really fantastic time in the Sahara, all in all, and I strongly recommend everyone to visit at least once in their life.
If you are looking for information on the Sahara Desert you may also be interested in reading more about my experiences in Morocco:
- Must Do Morocco: 6 Places in Morocco You Must Visit
- Chefchaouen Photo Diaries
- Tangier Photo Diary
- What to Wear in Morocco: Female Traveller
- Cappadocia Photo Diary